Written by Jeffrey Bell
Directed by Turi Meyer
Angel is standing alone in the wreckage of his and Connor’s room, staring at the empty crib. Fred is at Wesley’s apartment, listening to the message she left him. Gunn finds her. She doesn’t understand why Wes would have taken Connor, and she and Gunn both know Angel will kill him if he finds him before they do. Gunn has looked through Wesley’s things and found that he clearly wasn’t planning to come back. Fred thinks she’ll find the answers to her questions about Wes if they can find his diaries.
They head outside, and they drive away in Gunn’s truck. Fred calls Wesley’s cell, which rings not fifty feet away in the park, where he dropped it after Justine slit his throat.
Justine returns to Holtz’s base camp, where she’s annoyed to find that the other guys have chained up more vampires. She dusts them. Training is over. She tells them Holtz escaped alone with Connor, and he wants them to kill Angel.
Fred, Gunn, and Lorne are in the lobby of the Hyperion. Lorne has just told them what happened to Connor. Fred is particularly upset at the idea of Connor in Quor’Toth, given her own history with portals and hell dimensions. Gunn hugs her. He really wants to know why Wes did this. He doesn’t want to believe Lorne’s reading of Wes. Angel comes downstairs. His top priority is getting Connor back, followed by punishing everyone who had a hand in taking him. He puts Lorne on Quor’Toth research duty. Gunn hesitantly points out that it might be hard to open a portal without Wesley’s help, but Angel thinks all they need is to find Sahjhan and make him do it for them.
At W&H, Linwood pays Lilah a visit in her office. He’s annoyed she’s been keeping him out of the loop on developments with Angel, Connor, Holtz, and Sahjhan. Linwood considers Holtz escaping with Connor a win for him and a loss for them.
Fred hasn’t been able to find anything about Sahjhan so far, partly because a lot of the reference materials are in languages she doesn’t read. Gunn’s not having much better luck with Cordy’s files, since her system is insane. Fred tries to call Cordelia, but Angel stops her. He’s determined not to ruin her vacation. His plan is to get Connor back so that when she returns with presents for him, he’ll be there to enjoy them, and everything will be fine. *wibble* He apologizes for being abrupt with them and leaves. Fred and Gunn are worried this means he’s moved on to punishing Connor’s kidnappers.
A homeless man finds Wes on the ground in the park. He finds Wesley’s wallet and keeps it, then drags him behind a clump of bushes. That was very helpful.
Angel’s back at the hotel, and Lorne joins him. He’s checked out some sources, but nobody has good news about Quor’Toth. You can’t even actually make a portal to it; you have to just rip through reality, which is super dangerous. While he tells Angel this, Angel’s pulling all the notes off a memo spike and apparently not listening. He goes upstairs, Lorne following, still trying to explain that there’s no way to get to Quor’Toth. Turns out, Angel has Linwood tied up in his room.
Angel looks through his cupboards for fun implements like barbecue forks. Lorne is rather disturbed by this development, but Angel isn’t phased by Linwood’s threats. Angel sets his table of torture equipment down next to Linwood, which shuts him up. The first one Angel brandishes at Linwood is the memo spike, which he brings uncomfortably close to Linwood’s eye. Linwood is already promising to use every resource W&H has to get Connor back to Angel, but Angel wants to know about Sahjhan. Linwood has Angel dial 3 on his phone, which connects him to Lilah. He orders her to give Angel whatever he wants.
Gunn and Fred find Holtz’s headquarters, where Justine is whittling a stake. They want to know where Wesley is. Fred realizes, correctly, that neither Justine nor any of Holtz’s other soldiers can really be happy no matter what they do. She finds it tragic. In come some of those other soldiers. Justine punches Fred, and the guys are about to kill Gunn when Justine suffers a pang of conscience about slitting Wesley’s throat and lets them go.
Angel is walking with Lilah in W&H. They’re going to someplace called the White Room, where Angel can supposedly get answers. This is super high level stuff. Angel punches in a series of floor numbers, and then an extra button appears. He punches it.
The entire elevator whites out, and they end up in what looks like a pure white warehouse. A little girl is sitting there on a chair, wearing Mary Janes and a dress. She compliments Lilah’s manicures and Angel’s thirst for revenge. She tells Angel that Connor’s gone, but Sahjhan could be within his reach. She tells him how some group she refers to as “we” made Sahjhan and other demons like him incorporeal after they caused too much chaos. Angel could trap Sahjhan in an urn, but he probably wants to enjoy the physicality of actually killing him. The girl tells Angel to kill Lilah. He doesn’t even hesitate, but she calls him off before he can snap Lilah’s neck. She gives Angel the ritual to make Sahjhan corporeal, and then the place whites out again.
Gunn and Fred are at the dumpster outside Wesley’s apartment, and Fred has Gunn “throw her away.” Hahaha. She digs through and succeeds in finding Wesley’s diaries. They go to Wesley’s apartment to read them. Gunn is the first to find the “the father will kill the son” prophecy. Now things make much more sense. Fred is relieved Wes had a reason, and she wants to go tell Angel immediately. Gunn is less than optimistic about how Angel will react.
Angel is painting a large pentagram on the lobby floor for that ritual. Lilah is helping, and Lorne is trying to talk him out of it. The next ingredient is human blood. At first, it looks like Lilah will be getting that from Linwood, but then she cuts her own palm. (Seriously? Does nobody in this kind of show care about all the important veins, nerves, and tendons in the palms? That could do serious, permanent damage!) She lets the blood drop onto the floor in the middle of the pentagram, then steps aside. Angel reads the very short incantation, and Sahjhan materializes with lots of dramatic wind and lightning in front of them.
Or, starts to. Then he beams out to the middle of the street somewhere else, where his first experience as a corporeal being is to get hit by a truck. But he tosses it off him pretty easily.
Angel is pulling Linwood (still tied to the chair) up the stairs one step at a time so that he can resume torturing him. Hahaha. Lilah gets a call about Sahjhan’s antics in town. Angel wants to head over there immediately, but that’s when Fred and Gunn get back. Fred tries to block Angel, and when he goes around her, she yells the prophecy at him and starts explaining it. Gunn helps. Angel thinks about that for maybe two seconds, then continues heading for the door, because that’s the most ridiculous prophecy he’s ever heard. Fred reluctantly gets out of his way, and he leaves. Gunn doesn’t want to follow in case they end up making Angel angry enough to actually hurt one of them.
Before Angel can even get to the street, he gets attacked by Justine and all of Holtz’s men, but he knocks them all on their butts in under thirty seconds. So much for their training! When Fred goes to follow Angel despite Gunn’s misgivings, they both find all Holtz’s guys getting back up and fleeing the scene, including Justine, who is still using Wesley’s car. A lead!
Angel finds the driver of the truck that hit Sahjhan. He’s really shaken. There’s an ambulance there, because some people got hurt. Angel finds some of Sahjhan’s blood on the grille of the flipped truck. Now he has the scent.
Justine goes to that weird dungeon-y room where Holtz pinned her hand to a table with a nail or something. Fred and Gunn find her there. She’s a bit disillusioned about Holtz. She thinks he was just using all those people (including her) who believed in him so that he could hurt Angel by getting Connor. That sounds about right. Fred and Gunn want to know where Wes is. She tells them Wes is innocent...and dead. Fred punches her, and then Gunn hrows her to the ground. They fight, but she’s still in bad shape from Holtz bruising her up to trick Wes.
Sahjhan arrives. Uh oh. He doesn’t appreciate finding uninvited guests in his home. He punches Justine across the room for trying to cut his head off once. He’s really enjoying being able to feel friction, gravity, and also the ability to inflict violence. Angel shows up before Sahjhan can attack Gunn and Fred. Justine chooses that moment to flee. Angel wants Sahjhan to take him to Quor’Toth, and then he’ll let everything else slide. Sahjhan refuses, claiming he could only do that one time without endangering the fabric of reality. Then, he tells them he forged the prophecy. For him, everything—raising Holtz, working with Lilah—has actually been about getting rid of Connor, because what the real prophecy says is that Connor will kill Sahjhan.
Angel has listened patiently to all of this, but he is pissed. He vamps out and attacks Sahjhan. Sahjhan has him on the ropes, so Fred throws brazier full of flaming coals on him. That barely slows him down, and he comes very near to staking Angel, but he pauses to gloat about Connor, which gives Justine time to return, brandishing one of those urn things. Sahjhan gets sucked inside it. Justine tells them where she left Wes.
Gunn, Angel, and Fred search the park for Wes, but he’s gone. Maybe Angel has forgiven Wes after all, because he seems pretty concerned about him. Lorne’s calling a bunch of hospitals to try and track him down. (Um, how about Drew Medical, the one Wesley said was one minute away from his apartment in the previous episode?) Angel doesn’t know what to do next. He almost got Fred and Gunn killed trying to get his hands on Sahjhan. Lorne thinks Angel has done everything he could with the knowledge he had. Wes too. Angel should try forgiving Wes, then himself. Fred calls. She and Gunn found Wes.
Angel joins Fred and Gunn in the waiting room of the hospital where Wes is. Angel asks to see him. He goes in. Wes is sleeping. There are x-rays of his neck on a light board thing on the wall. He opens his eyes when Angel comes close. Angel tells him he understands why Wes did what he did. He tells him it’s him, Angel, not Angelus. He makes sure Wes realizes that, and then the calm façade drops. Completely enraged, Angel violently smothers Wes with his hospital pillow, shouting that he’s going to die for taking Connor. He tosses aside the first orderly who tries to pull him off, but two more manage to haul him away with Gunn’s help. Wes lies there gasping for air while Fred watches, completely horrified.
“Forgiving” essentially just continues the season’s arc, but it’s currently a very compelling arc, so that’s okay. Holtz’s followers are, I think, the weakest part of the episode. For all their training and how successful they were in the fight last time, Angel can lay them all flat in a few seconds this time? Pathetic. A pack of broken, vengeance-seeking warriors like that who suddenly don’t have their leader should have become a much more volatile, unpredictable threat than they were before. So far, that’s not how it seems to be going. I like Justine’s regret for what she did to Wesley and how it makes her hesitate and help the A.I. team, but I’m not sure it made sense for her to get Sahjhan sucked into that vase right when he was about to kill Angel. I mean, she only regrets hurting Wesley and letting Holtz use her, but she still hates Angel on principle, right? Weird. Angel getting help from W&H was a lot of fun, Sahjhan is always a lot of fun, and we got our first glimpse of the White Room, which is a fascinating place. Next time, we’ll get Cordy back, and it’ll be interesting to see if that adds or subtracts from how enjoyable the story is. A twist I really love (in a very bittersweet way) is that the prophecy was a fake, created by Sahjhan to try to undo the real prophecy about his own death. That we only find out it’s a fake after the damage has been done is so brutal. It’s fantastic.
When Angel says he doesn’t want to interrupt Cordy’s vacation because he wants to get Connor back before she even knows he was gone, it’s heartbreaking. Cordy’s happiness might be the one thing left he feels like he can still protect. (I’m suddenly wondering if Charisma Carpenter actually asked for a few weeks off from shooting, or if the writers just couldn’t figure out how to make this arc work with Cordy around. Either way, I think they did a good enough job justifying her absence even as things in the story got nasty. Certainly a much better job than they did with her pregnancy in S4.) I kind of love when Angel goes into quietly furious mode, such as when he sets up to torture Linwood. I definitely don’t love when he tries to smother Wesley to death, especially after pretending to be calm and forgiving right up until he whips the pillow out from under his head. But I do understand it. I’m not a parent, so I can’t be 100% sure, but I think if I were in Angel’s position, I might do the same thing. (Although I kind of think I’d just tell him the prophecy was fake, so everything he did was for nothing, and I never want to see him again unless he can somehow bring Connor back.)
Wesley doesn’t have much of an arc in this one, since he spends most of it lying on the ground slowly dying of blood loss and then the last bit of it nearly getting suffocated to death by his best friend.
I really admire Gunn’s determination to find proof that Wesley didn’t just betray them for no reason. I mean, Fred has that too, but Gunn is much more calm about it. He’s known Wesley longer. I also liked seeing him and Fred be sources of comfort to each other in this horrible time, rather than just being irritatingly cute. It’s important to see different sides of this relationship than just the cute side.
Fred’s unique perspective on portals and hell dimensions makes her particularly sympathetic in this one. But as panicked and terrified as she is for Connor’s sake, she’s still able to think very clearly and find answers to some of the important questions through reason, not violence (unlike Angel, who pretty much wants to punch his way to getting Connor back).
“Whatever it was flipped a two-ton truck like a Tonka toy.”
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The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.